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Characteristics of sea-ice thickness and snow-depth distributions of the summer landfast ice in Lützow-Holm Bay, East Antarctica

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Sea-ice observations have been conducted on board icebreaker Shirase as a part of the scientific programs of the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition. We summarize these to investigate spatial and interannual variability of ice thickness and snow depth of the summer landfast ice in Lützow-Holm Bay, East Antarctica. Electromagnetic–inductive observations, which have been conducted since 2000, provide total thickness distributions with high spatial resolution. A clear discontinuity, which separates thin first-year ice from thick multi-year ice, was observed in the total thickness distributions in two voyages. Comparison with satellite images revealed that such phenomena reflected the past break-up of the landfast ice. Within 20–30 km from the shore, total thickness as well as snow depth decrease toward the shore. This is due to the snowdrift by the strong northeasterly wind. Video observations of sea-ice thickness and snow depth were conducted on 11 voyages since December 1987. Probability density functions derived from total thickness distributions in each year are categorized into three types: a thin-ice, thick-ice and intermediate type. Such interannual variability primarily depends on the extent and duration of the successive break-up events.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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